German philanthropist, Gottfried Duden, visited Missouri and in 1829 would publish a book about the visit titled A Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America, for which he was labeled the ‘Dream spinner’. Recently, German Consul Wolfgang Mössinger, from Chicago, also visited Missouri and had an opportunity to experience Duden’s Missouri firsthand. Missouri is celebrating its’ 200th Bicentennial in 2021, and one can see that today it is still the same beautiful state that Germans began emigrating to during the 1830s. Due to Duden’s Report, one-third of the 120,000 Germans that emigrated to the U.S. in that decade alone would chose Missouri. Today, Germans that visit, work, or live in Missouri, may require the services of one of the nine consulates that serve in the U.S. under Germany’s Ambassador Emily Haber. Mössinger, like Haber, are the official representatives of the Federal Government of Germany, in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Missouri.
Mössinger’s visit began with a wine tasting at Hermann’s historic Stone Hill Winery, established by Michael Poeschel in 1847, led by today’s owners, Jon and Karen Held who are the second generation; and their sons Nathan and Erich Held, who are the third generation of the Held family to own and operate the winery. Also joining him were Hermann’s Mayor Bruce Cox and his wife Bobbie, and former Mayor Robert Kirchhofer and his wife Nancy for a tour of the winery’s historic vaults. Great dinner conversations about cultural and student exchanges, Hermann’s history, and the future possibilities followed in the former carriage house at the winery, that now serves as the Vintage 1847 Restaurant.
Following dinner, the Consul and his wife enjoyed an evening of living history at The Hermann Farm, where he enjoyed the Teubner-Husmann home built in 1847, and a magnificent sunset at the Manwaring cemetery on the hilltop, with its’ incredible vista of Hermann. A portion of the farm was originally home to the Rasche family, and includes a double dog trot log cabin, circa 1840s, which shares the life of a typical German family. An encounter with the Shire Horses who are bred and raised here, helps a visitor to fully engage in the time period of the farm. The huge stone “banked” barn, circa 1840s, removed and re-erected upon the property by James Dierberg and the Dierberg Foundation during 2019, also helps one understand that this is truly a working farm. The evening was capped off by a wonderful tasting in the farm’s Blackshire Distillery. The Hermann Farm provides a trip back in time, helping everyone who visits to fully understand the historical context of Duden’s Report about Missouri, and the lives of so many German immigrants.
The following day, Consul Mössinger, visited Missouri’s State Historic Site known as Deutschheim, which translates to ‘German Home‘ and shares two homes built during the 1840s. The first is of the Pommer family, one of the original German emigrant families, who were members of the Philadelphia Settlement Society which led to the founding of Hermann in 1836. Also, part of the site, is the home of Carl Strehly, where his brother-in-law Eduard Muehl published the German newspaper the Licht-Freund (Friends of Light) in the lower level. The newspaper shared the anti-slavery sentiments of the German emigrants, who were known for their radical abolitionist views, and who were leaders in the battle for emancipation of African Americans.
Hermann is part of Missouri’s German Heritage Corridor, which lays along the Missouri River valleys, and runs from St. Louis to Concordia. Filled with historic sites, such as the Village of Dutzow, the first German settlement in 1832; and Munichberg, inside our Capitol city, Jefferson City, another of the many early German settlements that could be lost and forgotten. The German Heritage Corridor shares the people and their culture; the heritage and their history, where immigrants chose to make their home; and where the traditions continue still today. The German Heritage Corridor was designated such by the State in 2016 and includes sixteen Counties where the population base shares Missouri’s strong German heritage.
Germans still today make up the largest ethnic group in America, with over 50 million people claiming German as their heritage in the U.S. Census. While Missouri is one of the most predominately German in its demographics, it is the City of St. Louis that anchors the German triangle, along with Cincinnati and Milwaukee, where most of our nations’ German heritage can be still found.
For more information on:
German Missions in the U.S. see https://www.germany.info/us-en
Stone Hill Winery see: https://stonehillwinery.com/
Herman Farm see: https://www.hermannfarm.com/
Deutschheim State Historic Site see: https://mostateparks.com/park/deutschheim-state-historic-site
German Heritage Corridor see: https://mohumanities.org/
A visit to Hermann, Missouri